5-time NBA All-Star
Join Date: Jul 2010
Re: Chad Ford's Draft Grades [Need an ESPN Insider please]
Originally Posted by chips93
so could any inside post it? would be appreciated
The 2011 NBA draft was a pretty wild ride, with the usual high volume of trades and trade rumors. And while the talent level at the top wasn't as high as in other years, the draft was very solid in the mid-to-late first round and beyond.
Now it's time to evaluate what we saw. In my day job as a college professor, I don't give final grades after just one day of class. But as an NBA analyst, that's essentially what I have to do when handing out draft grades just hours after teams have made their selections.
The truth is, there is still so much we don't know about the 2011 draft class and how the players will fit with their respective teams. In other words, the ultimate draft grades won't be known for at least a couple of years, and probably much longer. And this year, due to the weakness of the draft, I'm going to have to grade on the curve.
Here's my take on how every team in the league did Thursday (in alphabetical order):
ATLANTA HAWKS GRADE: C-
Round 1: None.
Round 2: Keith Benson (48)
Analysis: The Hawks sent their first-round pick to the Wizards in the Kirk Hinrich trade, and Washington turned it into Chris Singleton. Between Hinrich and Singleton, I'd rather have Singleton for the long haul.
In the second round, the Hawks didn't fare much better. They may be desperate for size, but Keith Benson plays small. I've been intrigued by his talent for years, but unless he really turns the corner I don't think he will stick in the league. Most second-rounders don't.
BOSTON CELTICS GRADE: A-
Round 1: JaJuan Johnson (27, obtained from New Jersey)
Round 2: E'Twaun Moore (55)
Analysis: When you're drafting as low as the Celtics are in a weak draft, you temper expectations. But I think they may have found two players who can help.
Johnson was underrated all season, mostly because he was a senior. He's long, athletic and skilled, and he has improved every year.
Moore is the consummate role player. He isn't great at anything, but his overall game is solid. Both players could help the Celtics down the road.
CHARLOTTE BOBCATS GRADE: B+
Round 1: Bismack Biyombo (7, obtained from Sacramento), Kemba Walker (9)
Round 2: None.
Analysis: It was a good night for Charlotte, as they added toughness at two critical positions.
Biyombo has the ability to be a Ben Wallace-like defensive anchor. He may never figure it out offensively, but it's hard to see how he fails defensively if he stays healthy. With that body, motor and athletic ability, he's going to intimidate in the paint.
Walker may be undersized, but he's a winner, and the Bobcats needed some winners in their organization. Whether he sticks in the league as a Jason Terry-type combo guard, or whether he proves people wrong and becomes a pure point guard, at No. 9, I think Walker was the right choice.
CHICAGO BULLS GRADE: B
Round 1: Nikola Mirotic (23, rights from Houston from Orlando via Phoenix), Jimmy Butler (30)
Round 2: None.
Analysis: The Bulls were drafting late and still found talent.
I like the Mirotic pick. He was a lottery talent who slid because of contract issues, but the Bulls can afford to be patient and allow him to continue to develop in Europe. They do take a risk that he doesn't ever come here (Mirotic is already getting paid major coin in Europe), but at No. 23, it's worth the gamble.
Butler will not be a star, but he will play his role off the bench. He can guard multiple positions, has a great work ethic, and has the maturity to fit into a veteran team. When you factor in all that he's overcome in his life, it's not hard to believe he'll succeed.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS GRADE: A-
Round 1: Kyrie Irving (1, from LA Clippers), Tristan Thompson (No. 4)
Round 2: Milan Macvan (54, obtained from Oklahoma City via Miami)
Analysis: The Cavs got the best player in the draft in Irving. There was a temptation to get carried away by taking Derrick Williams No. 1 and then trying to score a player like Brandon Knight at No. 4. But the Cavs kept their eye on the ball and took the best player available.
Will Irving be a star? Maybe not. But he's going to be a starting point guard for a long time in the league and has enough upside to get to a star level someday.
I did think the Cavs reached just a little bit for Tristan Thompson. We might debate for years whether the Cavs would've been better off taking Williams and Brandon Knight ahead of Irving and Thompson. But I think history will be kind to the Cavs.